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PERSPECTIVES

How to Tell Your Doctor You're Kinky

by DR. LAURA MCGUIRE
Published: SEPTEMBER 10, 2020
Be patient and keep looking for kink friendly healthcare providers. With more and more healthcare becoming virtual, our options are ever-expanding! You and your health are worth it.

Few and far between are those who enjoy going to the doctors. Even if you have the nicest, most inclusive doctor on the planet, most people dread the cold rooms, long wait times, and invasive questions that can be overwhelming and unpleasant at best.

In the midst of all of this, should you be bringing up the fact that you are kinky? Many kinksters avoid coming out to their healthcare providers, from physicians to therapists, because they either think it's none of their business or they fear judgment. This can cause some pretty serious consequences.

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Kinky sex has unique needs when it comes to protecting our physical and mental health. Additionally, doctors may not understand consensual injuries, such as bruises or marks and believe that we are being harmed.

The stress of being part of a minority sexual community can have negative effects on our mental health if we feel isolated or ashamed of what we enjoy. All of us leads us to understand why we must find kink inclusive healthcare providers.

Most Providers Have No Training or Knowledge of Kink

In most cases physicians, nurses, and even therapists received very little to no training or exposure to kink. The manual that defines mental health disorders, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, removed kink or paraphilia off of their list of disorders in 2013.

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If your healthcare provider was trained before this recent update, they may have been trained to think that kink/BDSM is a mental health issue. This can lead to providers believing that their patients are a risk to themselves or others and even cases of reporting them as unfit parents (although the children were completely safe and never exposed to kink).

Because of this, many kinksters are reasonably fearful of talking about their healthcare needs and being outed by someone else. With all of this working against the kink community, how do we go about finding our medical unicorn provider?

Tips to Help You Find a Kink Friendly Healthcare Professional

1. Look for directories of providers who have kink inclusive training.

The best place to start when looking for kink-friendly providers is the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom’s directory. You can find everything from lawyers to midwives that won't require you to explain your interest in BDSM or kink. If you are a provider, you can add your business to their directory so more kinksters can find you.

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2. Test the waters with providers you already have.

If there isn’t someone in your area who is on the directory, you may be surprised by what your provider already understands and accepts. You don’t need to jump in and tell them everything about your identities and practices. You can start by asking questions to feel things out. Asking thing like, do they know anything about kink? What do they think of BDSM? And, what do they think is healthy and unhealthy in sexuality are good starts. Their reactions will guide you as to if they are sincerely inclusive and open or not.

3. Don’t apologize or settle.

Last but not least, if the first two tips don’t pan out the way you hoped, remember that finding kink inclusive healthcare is still your right as a patient. Do not feel like you have to settle for a provider that doesn’t understand or appreciate your needs and experience. For kinksters in rural areas, this may be particularly hard, but not impossible. Be patient and keep looking. With more and more healthcare becoming virtual, our options are ever-expanding! You and your health are worth it.

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Dr. Laura McGuire

Dr. Laura McGuire (they/them or she/her) is a nationally recognized sexuality educator, trauma-informed specialist, and inclusion consultant at The National Center for Equity and Agency.

Dr. McGuire earned their bachelor's degree in social sciences from Thomas Edison State University and graduate degrees in Educational Leadership for Change from Fielding Graduate University.

Their experience includes both public and private sectors, middle schools, high schools, and university settings. In 2015, she served as the first Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Program Manager at the University of Houston, and in 2017, she became the first Victim Advocate/Prevention Educator at the US Merchant Marine Academy.


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